Banned Books Week: How can YALSA help you advocate for your teen readers?

Banned books.’  Are there two scarier words in our profession?’  Every September librarians celebrate the freedom to read and spread the word about “banned books.”’  This year, let YALSA help you support your teens and their freedom to read.’ 

The 2008 most frequently challenged author’s list reads like a who’s who of YA authors – six of the eleven authors listed are YA (Chris Crutcher, Lauren Myracle, and Phillip Pullman to name a few).’  What is it about YA literature that scares people, especially parents?’  As librarians, how can we continue to educate ourselves; and in turn our patrons and their parents about teens’ freedom to read?’ YALSA has many resources that can help you advocate for your teens and support their freedom to read.’ 

  • YALSA book and awards lists can be used to help guide your collection development.’  Lists like the Teens’ Top Ten are a great starting place to support your teens’ reading, especially since the titles on the list were selected by teens.
  • Check out the YALSA Professional Development Center to find information about online courses, sessions at conferences and white papers that can help you advocate for your teens.’  This section also contains advocacy kits and guides to help support teen reading and library use.’  This section also contains information about the 2010 YALSA Lit Symposium and its theme: Beyond Good Intentions: Diversity, Literature, and Teens. The symposium will discuss current teen literature and whether it reflects the growing diversity of those teens; and whether or not the current generation of teen readers is influencing young adult literature.’ ‘ 
  • Investigate the Publications section of the website to find some interesting professional reading.’  This area contains information on the various YALSA journals, e-newsletters, and books.’  These resources contain valuable information that can help you advocate for your teens.
  • Teen Read Week – here is your chance to show teens that you support them and to show your community how important teen reading is. The Teen Read Week site contains free resources for you to use; download logos, PSAs, booklists, and more to help promote your celebration.
  • Interest/Discussion Groups and Committees – what better way to advocate for teens than to join an interest or discussion group or volunteer for a committee.’  Discuss the latest in gaming for teens or exchange information with other librarians who serve urban teens.’  Volunteer for a selection committee and help pick the most deserving books for awards.’  There are many groups and committees that you can join that will enrich your professional life and help you become a better advocate for the teens you serve.

With the help of these valuable resources we can educate ourselves, other library workers and anyone else that may work with or have contact with teens.’  Banned Books Week is a great time to see what resources YALSA has to help you advocate for your teen readers and to show your community how valuable those teen readers are.

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